, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 24, 2013

A 'miracle' reunion

Agile Gus returned to NY owners after five months on lam


About a month ago, the Merrimac police animal control officer Lisa Young-Carey found Gus wandering off Whittier Drive, located close to Route 110. Young-Carey said she scanned the area between the cat’s shoulder blades, hoping its owners had implanted a microchip that alerts shelters, animal hospitals and animal control officers of its owners, its name and other details.

Unable to locate a microchip on the cat, Young-Carey held on to Gus and began looking for his owners or someone who might be willing to adopt him. After several weeks went by without word from his owners or interest from an adoptive home, Young-Carey took Gus to the feline rescue society last Friday.

For decades, the no-kill shelter, which first launched in Newburyport before establishing its headquarters in Salisbury, has cared and found homes for hundreds of cats each year. The privately funded organization takes in between 600 and 800 cats a year and averages between 40 and 75 adoptions a month. Its core full-time staff of five is augmented by hundreds of volunteers. The shelter typically spends $400 on each cat, with adoption fees ranging between $125 and $200 offsetting some of the costs.

Liz Pease, director of operations at the shelter, said she and her staff tried again to scan Gus for a microchip and eventually found it, located on his back. Microchips are typically implanted between the shoulder blades, but in Gus’ case, his chip had migrated far enough down his back to make it difficult to spot, Pease said.

A few days ago, the Ghesquieres received calls in quick succession from Pease and the company that sold them the microchip alerting them that Gus had been found safe and sound.

“It’s a miracle,” Lynn Ghesquiere said, when asked what it felt like to receive those calls.

Pease said the microchip, which costs as little as $20 to implant at the shelter, was the only reason Gus and the Ghesquieres were reunited.

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